Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ministry of Power Website and Technological Ignorance of Indian Government

India is a IT superpower. How many times you hear that statement? Well I just published a blog post about the nuclear deal and while gathering background material for the post I landed on the website of Ministry of Power, India. (http://powermin.gov.in) and to my disappointment it did not render correctly on Mozilla Firefox 3. So I started Internet Explorer7 and checked the website. It works fine in Internet Explorer7.

Firefox 3

Flock 1.2.5 (A browser that uses Firefox Rendering Engine)

Internet Explorer 7

How can a country boast of being IT superpower when the Government websites are so inept at handling even major browsers? Also if you see the website you will see that the website uses continuous running flash animation and scrolling news. Showing a complete disregard for usability. Also there is no easily visible (if there is one at all) link to the accessible version of the website. And add to that the website sports a visitor counter in the footer! Why a ministry website wants to boast about its visitor count? Guys are you planning to run ads on these websites next?

I know these elements are quite common on all Indian websites and they are there on website designed by me (only because client insisted about it and refused to have it any other way.) But this is a Government website! At least the Government should pay attention to the accessibility guidelines. There are quite a few people with disabilities in India. Does this mean that the Government of India does not want all these people to view and use its websites?

What is the primary use of a Ministry Website? To share information with people of the nation easily. What’s the point of having these websites if we are not able to access the information at all?

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